BioInnovation Institute (BII) is announcing the Bio Studio program with the ambition of building and running a leading life science facility for company creation in Europe. The newly established program is the successor of the former BII Faculty program.
The goal of the Bio Studio program is to foster the creation of new life science start-ups based on research from world-class Principal Investigators (PIs) to benefit people and society. The main new feature of the Bio Studio program is that the company creation projects will be internalized at BII and the staff working on the projects will primarily be hired by BII. This includes Project Directors that will be recruited from industry to lead one or more projects with the purpose of spinning out a company within a three-year time frame.
“By insourcing world-class science projects and creating a strong Project Team and adding BII facilities and network we are creating a strong setup to create the next generation of life science start-ups and bioentrepreneurs. The Project Directors and the Principal Investigators that enter the program will ensure strong translational and business development leadership of the projects from the beginning to the end. They will be crucial in creating an effective creation of fundable companies based on world-class science,” says BII’s Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), Trine Bartholdy, who will be overall responsible for the execution of the program. Trine Bartholdy holds a background from the pharmaceutical industry, venture capital and has been a life science CEO herself before joining BII in 2020.
When fully operational, BII expects to host 15-20 top-level entrepreneurial scientists and the total number of staff members working in the Bio Studio program will over the coming years be around 100 people.
BII expects that the program will play a significant role in bridging the gap between academia and industry by offering brilliant researchers joining the project teams a unique opportunity to dedicate all their time to one research project with translational and commercial potential.
“The research staff working on Bio Studio projects will focus on building a solid foundation for company creation in a vibrant entrepreneurial environment. Through state-of-the-art infrastructure, intellectual property and company development support, and access to BII’s large network of partners around the world, we believe that we can offer something truly unique,” emphasizes Markus Herrgård, Chief Technology Officer at BII, who will take lead in scouting for and recruitment of projects for Bio Studio.
The Bio Studio program will run various educational activities, including the BII Summer School in collaboration with Copenhagen Business School, which provides the team members working in the Bio Studio projects training in life science entrepreneurship.
A clear purpose
Furthermore, projects admitted to the program can already early in the process engage with venture capitalists and industry partners, which is beneficial in terms of reaching the goal of successful company creation, according to Trine Bartholdy.
“There are many things to deal with when you enter into a program focused on company creation and perhaps comes with a scientific mindset. Thus, we find that early engagement with VCs and industry partners will both help the project members shape their commercial understanding and to develop a robust financing plan, which may include initiating an industrial partnership or making a licensing agreement.”.
The CIO further stresses that while it can take some time for scientists working in the Bio Studio projects to adjust to a more commercial mindset, the projects selected for the program will be headed by a PI that already has a proven track record in bringing research ideas to market. The PIs can both provide scientific and technical guidance to the project team and contribute to developing the strategy of the project.
Three focus areas
The Bio Studio program staff actively scout for PIs and projects in three areas: bioindustrials, therapeutics and health tech. The project selections are based on five criteria: qualifications of the PI, expected societal impact, future market need, synergy with existing activities at BII, and opportunities for collaboration with external stakeholders such as industry or hospitals.
“Scouting for ideas and project development to refine initial project ideas are critical components of any company creation program. We have built an extensive academic network in Europe and beyond that allows us to effectively source potential projects for the Bio Studio program,” says Markus Herrgård.
The Bio Studio program staff conducts extensive scientific, IP and commercial due diligence on proposed projects. The due diligence information is also used to refine the project idea to arrive at a solid three-year project plan.
First projects soon to be announced
BII is going to announce the first projects in the Bio Studio in the coming months. According to Chief Innovation Officer Trine Bartholdy, there is something great in store.
“It will be a pleasure to get the projects onboarded and start to work with them on our shared mission to accelerate and further develop their excellent research to solve some of the most pressing challenges for people and society,” she says.
There are already several open vacancies to apply for if you are interested in working on the Bio Studio program.